Story Building

The power of a story rests on believability…a combination of remarkability, authenticity and how many people are willing to buy into the idea.

I see a lot of hospitality marketing focused first on how many people they can attract vs. clearly understanding and defining the story they can tell. The result is almost predictable…a flood of gimmicks, lies and attempts to be many things to a mass of people.

An example of the “let’s try this” approach is the media hyped Smells campaign. Pump some aroma therapy into the lobby air and people will be so moved that they come back and tell all their friends. Obviously, this didn’t take long to think-up (or, at least I hope it didn’t).

Most really good stories aren’t made in a day, or on some agency white board. They evolve over time from hard work and passionate people who are willing to take risks, experiment and even fail. Sometimes, you’re fortunate to ride the coat tails of someone else’s story…like history. If you build a property next to The Alamo or on Biltmore Estate, I bet history is a significant part of your marketing. On the other hand, if you’re starting from scratch, be sure to spend a great deal of time on crafting your message around something that’s real and truly remarkable…like The Inn at Little Washington, where you go for the dining experience first, and everything else second.

Be sure you know exactly what you are, what you’re capable of and most importantly, who will enjoy your story…before you write the media and sales plans. And, most of all, don’t make things up just to get more people interested. That just leads to distrust, a lack of respect and eventually, less sales.